Harlan Coben was born on the 4th of January, 1962, in Newark, New Jersey. Harlan was born into and grew up in a Jewish family. Coben was educated in the Livingston High School of New Jersey. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the Amherst College.
It was at Amherst College that he also met author Dan Brown, though Dan hadn’t yet published the books that would mark his career, while they were both part of a fraternity named Psi Upsilon.
Coben took up writing during his college years. After graduating, he went to work in a travelling agency that was owned by his own grandfather. Most primarily, Coben is known for his mystery and thriller books, and he is a familiar name when speaking about the contemporary fiction of America.
The last consecutive seven of his novels have stood on the number one spot on the New York Times bestsellers list. Coben today lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey, with his wife and their four children.
Best Harlan Coben Books
Tell No One was published in 2001 and it was the first novel by Harlan to reach the New York Times bestseller list. Our main character in this tale of mystery is Doctor David Beck.
He is a Manhattan pediatrician. David’s wife, and childhood sweetheart, Elizabeth was kidnapped eight years ago. She was tortured violently and murdered by a man referring to himself as KillRoy. KillRoy is in prison, doing life on 14 different counts of murder.
As it happens, the case is once more opened when near the site where Elizabeth’s body was recovered, the police discover two corpses and a baseball bat. It is this same baseball bat that had been used against Elizabeth so as to kidnap her.
Things only take a turn for the twisty worse when David receives an e-mail from a person looking exactly like his slain wife. David can’t understand all the implications arising from this: has Elizabeth been alive for the better part of a decade? why is she coming back now? whose body was falsely identified as hers and buried?
This is one thriller that won’t let you off the hook once you’ve read it. You’ll be pondering how things went down long after it’s placed back on your bookshelf. It isn’t without reason that Tell No One is considered Harlan’s best book.
Coben’s Fool Me Once is a one of a kind examples of how a thriller, even after the author has been writing for decades, is properly done. We see Maya Burkett, recently widowed as her husband was shot and murdered in Central Park by a pair of muggers, as she installs a hidden camera to keep a keen eye on her two-year old daughter Lily and her nanny.
Maya’s world is flipped upside down when, while examining the footage, she sees her husband from out the grave sitting in her den. Isabella, the nanny, denies seeing anything and high-tails it out of Maya’s home, taking the memory card from the concealed camera.
Distrustful of homicide detective Roger Kierce, Maya decides to do a little bit of investigation on her own. She finds that Kierce isn’t quite as innocent as he may let one. With time, Maya finds that there are many more things being played in the background than she first supposed.
Her investigation links the murder of her husband with the murder of her sister Claire, as Kierce reveals that they were shot using the same weapon. Even more distressing is that Joe’s own brother Andrew was murdered over ten years ago, and now secrets that were to be kept under wraps are being revealed, one by one.
As any Coben thriller is, Fool Me Once is a tale of intrigue that has its readers on the edge of their seats. The best book of Harlan Coben of the latter part of his career.
The Woods was published in 2007, garnering generally positive reviews. The story starts out with the recounting of a series of murders that occurred at a summer camp. Paul Copeland is a New Jersey prosecutor, whose teenaged sister and her three friends were slain in that same camp.
Paul learns that one of the victims, or more than just one, might have just gotten away. Paul has lost a lot in his life. His wonderful wife was taken by cancer, his mother went away a number of years ago, his father died in search of Camille, Paul’s sister.
A few months after the death of Paul’s dad, the case is reopened as a new corpse has just been found. Paul is one-hundred per cent sure that the body is Gil Perez, who was thought to have died in the woods twenty years ago.
Paul struggles with keeping his sanity; his other cases take a hit as he is unable to keep his head clear. With each page, the story is revealed, bit by bit, and we learn of the dark, dark past. It should be noted that one critique that Coben has received for this particular novel is that Paul never actually seems as if he’s in any trouble, though this is a minor issue.
The penchant that Coben has for twisting the stories is as present here as in all wonderful, murderous thriller that he releases. Not many would number this among their list of the best Harlan Coben books, but it still succeeds in what it sets out to do.
While the Myron Bolitar books are probably the ones that author Harlan is most known for, his attempts at teen fiction with the Mickey Bolitar books are also superb stories.
The story is comprised of the following three books:
- Shelter, where we are introduced to Mickey Bolitar, who is the nephew to Myron Bolitar.
- Mickey’s life takes a turn when he witnesses the death of his father, then even more when he is forced to send his mother into Having no other recourse, Mickey goes to live with uncle Myron. He switches school, losing most of his friends, but he soon finds ones at the present school.
- However, his girlfriend Ashley has vanished without a trace. Determined to find her, Mickey sets off in his attempt not to lose another person in his life.
- Seconds Away, where Mickey and his group of close friends is at the heart of yet another murder mystery…
- Coben does a brilliant job of keeping the readers out of the loop while, at the same time, setting up an intriguing plot. The characters are ones strong and enduring, and the plot can be rested upon their backs properly.
- Found, is the third and, as of this moment, final book in the Mickey Bolitar series. It comes back to the mysteries surrounding Mickey’s own family, his parents, and it ends wonderfully. The opening page grips you from the start, and doesn’t really let go even after you’ve closed the book.
Myron Bolitar Series is one of two series written and developed by Coben, and it is also the longest one. It features eleven novels, each with its own riddles and twists, setting up an entertaining, interesting, murderous story. Myron, the titular character, is a large, handsome man, currently working as a sports agent, though at one point he did work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Over the course of the books, Myron tracks down the girlfriend of a friend he used to be close with; protects one of his clients while attempting to avenge the life of another; finds himself in the middle of one of the most powerful families in the cities and all their secrets; finds out that he is the father of a thirteen year old child, stricken by cancer, and he must have a race against the clock to find the missing bone marrow donor; faces the death of his own father; goes deep into decade old secrets that might just cost him his own life.
The books featuring Myron are one of a kind. Even though, the first one came out in 1995, and the latest one in 2016, the stories don’t lose footing for even a bit. Myron remains as the witty, powerful and charismatic character we meet in Deal Breaker, and blossoms even further towards being as complete a character as possible, all the way to Home.
The books featuring Myron Bolitar are, without a shadow of a doubt, the best books that Coben has written.
Harlan Coben is one of the best authors, today – and even during the last twenty years –, in the thriller genre. His books have been entertaining and absorbing, musing and perplexing readers since his first, and he is showing no sign of slowing down.